Matins Devotion: October 18, 2023
The phrase “a haunt of jackals” is used a handful of times in the Scriptures. And as a lover of poetry and vivid language, I must say, I really love this phrase quite a bit. It’s eerie and mysterious, stark and brooding. It does a great job of describing how the judgment of God against His people will leave their land ruined and destroyed, uninhabitable, filled with bloodthirsty foreign nations, like wild dogs, snarling and howling at them. As God says of their land in Isaiah 34, on the day of His judgment against His people, “thorns shall grow over its strongholds, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It shall be the haunt of jackals.”
But here in our reading from the next chapter of Isaiah, God promises to heal the wound He will open when He tells us that, in the same haunt of jackals, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. In other words, on the day of the Lord’s redemption, the wild dogs will be no more. Oppression and violence will cease. Peace will abound. The waters of salvation will return. And everything that was torn apart and burned over will be healed and restored through the purifying blood of the Savior.
So be at peace. The blood of Jesus Christ has come, and the haunt of jackals is no more. Upon the cross, our Lord shed His blood for you, killing your sins, destroying everything that made the wrath of God burn against you. Upon the cross, our Lord received the condemnation you had earned as He clothed you in His righteousness. There, upon the cross, the piercéd one clothed you in the garment that no wild dogs can ever pierce. So now, the jackals cannot haunt you, no matter where their haunts may be.
No matter how much Satan may accuse you, no matter how much cruelty the world may toss at you, no matter how much your sinful flesh may grieve the pure heart Christ gave you in your baptism, the wild dogs cannot sink their jaws into the flesh that Jesus Christ has claimed as His own. They cannot condemn the one God has already declared righteous. They cannot destroy the one whose name is written in the book of eternal life. No matter where the dogs may roam, their haunt has now been made a peaceful land of reeds and rushes, flowing with the waters of salvation because every atom of this universe belongs to the Redeemer who now holds you in the palm of His hand. The haunt of jackals is gone, eternally buried underneath your new home, the river of life.